Following the success of its Play:5 networked speaker--formerly known as the S5--Sonos has added a smaller, less expensive speaker to its lineup, the Play:3. At $299, it's the most affordable Sonos streaming-audio component to date.
For the unfamiliar, Sonos is a streaming-audio system that lets you enjoy all manner of digital audio. Another big part of the appeal of the system is that it can stream your iTunes music collection and also easily connect to such streaming services as Aupeo, iHeartRadio, Last.fm, Mog, Napster, Pandora, Rdio, Rhapsody, SiriusXM Internet Radio, Spotify, Stitcher SmartRadio, TuneIn, and Wolfgang's Vault. (Disclaimer: Last.fm is a part of CBS Interactive, which also publishes CNET.)
In recent years, as Sonos has come out with free iOS and Android applications for controlling its system from existing smartphones and tablets like the iPad, the company has been growing rapidly. The introduction of the Play:5, which integrated a speaker with the wireless networking component, made setting up a multiroom system easier and has led to a big leap in sales.
We've long been big fans of the system and were happy to hear that Sonos was expanding its speaker family with the Play:3, both a more compact and a more affordable option for people wanting to add rooms to their systems. It's mostly a very good addition to the Sonos line, but going smaller certainly has its trade-offs when it comes to sound quality, so read on to find out how the Play:3 stacks up against the Play:5, as well as other small single-speaker systems.